Sep. 15—While Lake Erie, justifiably so, gets the majority of the attention from anglers, it is far from the only option in the region.
It takes a big boat and a moderate fishing budget to be a regular on Lake Erie, but there is an abundance of modest-sized waters scattered across the area that offer a multitude of angling options for those with no boat, or with kids who need a fishing intro on a more comfortable and controlled environment.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife manages some 124,000 acres of inland waters, including a long list of reservoirs, lakes, and ponds open to the public, many with relatively easy access and shore fishing options for anglers. There are also dozens of small-water fishing locations in the Metroparks Toledo properties and area county and community parks. These lakes and ponds are also ideal for teaching young anglers the basics of fishing in a safe and controlled environment. And those ponds and lakes are often filled with fish.
Besides its many access points for fishing the Maumee River, Metroparks also provides anglers with sites such as Wiregrass Lake, located off North Eber Road. The lake is stocked with bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish and offers comfortable shore fishing and a large dock. There is also an easy launch site for anglers using a canoe or kayak.
The lake at Pearson Metropark is stocked with rainbow trout each spring and also holds resident populations of catfish, bluegill, and bass. This body of water has a stair-stepped shore that makes it an exceptional choice when fishing with young children or those individuals with mobility issues.
There is a different type of fishing offered at the Blue Creek Recreation Area of the Metropark system, since this fishing hole is a former stone quarry.
This park, located at Waterville-Neapolis Road at Schadel Road in Whitehouse, was once the home of the Nona France Stone Quarry. The fishing is a little tougher, since structure is sometimes hard to find in quarries, but the waters there hold some decent largemouth bass, along with bluegill. There is a trail that circles the quarry.
At Mallard Lake located in the Oak Openings Preserve of the Metroparks system anglers will find largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish and a stair-stepped shoreline that gives kids a chance to fish from a flat, safe surface. Evergreen Lake at Oak Openings is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish and has plenty of easy shoreline fishing sites.
Stoner Pond in Northwood, located just off I-280 at Curtice Road near Menards, has easy access and plenty of flat ground for safe fishing for bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie. The catch-and-release pond, excavated when the overpass on the interstate was built, is the site of a kids fishing derby this Saturday. The event is open to children ages 3-13 and you do not have to be a resident of Northwood to take part.
The Wood County Parks has several fishing options located at Beaver Creek Preserve, Bradner Preserve, W.W. Knight Nature Preserve, and the Adam Phillips Fishing Pond. Bradner Preserve located on Fostoria Road and Beaver Creek pond on Long Judson Road, as well as W.W. Knight in Perrysburg, are designated for family-oriented fishing and youth fishing, with bluegill and sunfish the target species. At Phillips Pond and Knight Preserve bass fishing is catch-and-release only, while bluegill may be kept. Public fishing is allowed from April 1 through October 31 at Phillips Pond.
Sylvania's Olander Park has a spring-fed, 28-acre lake that is a popular family fishing site, with bluegill, largemouth bass, perch, catfish, crappie, and sunfish all on the catch list. A 1.1-mile paved, ADA-accessible walkway around the lake makes fishing with kids an easy proposition.
Besides its popular Maumee River access sites, Perrysburg has two ponds at Three Meadows Park, located adjacent to I-75. The larger pond is stocked with native species and non-motorized boats are permitted on this pond.
—Lake Erie/walleye: The pros at Netcraft recommend working the water north and east of Kelleys Island up to the international line for the best opportunity to find bragging-size walleye as the big water prepares to transition from summer to fall. Try deep-diving crankbaits in 35-45 feet of water rigged with two-ounce weights behind a planer board and trolled 100-120 feet back at speeds of 2.0 to 2.5 miles per hour. Fish have also been taken with Dipsy Divers on the zero setting pulling shallow-diving crankbaits and spoons 70 to 75 feet back, or at the No. 3 setting 85 to 90 feet back.
—Lake Erie/perch: The fishing for these prized table treats continues to improve with anglers doing well northwest of the Toledo water intake, around Niagara Reef, and "C" and "D" cans of the Camp Perry firing range. Those sites have been holding good numbers of perch and anglers who have been able to sit on schools of fish have filled limits. The go-to setup for yellow perch includes spreaders or crappie rigs tipped with emerald shiners.